“Haykakan Zhamanak” reports that a regular meeting of Armenian and European Union parliamentarians held in Brussels on February 5-6 “effectively broke down” as they failed to adopt a joint statement. The paper recalls that a similar meeting planned in Yerevan last October was cancelled altogether. “This was one of the platforms where the Armenian side had claimed to have a big diplomatic edge over Azerbaijan because Azerbaijan had for years failed to adopt concluding statements after meetings with EU parliamentarians,” it says.
“Zhamanak” notes that “no leader of the developed world” will attend Friday’s opening ceremony of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia. The paper considers this an expression of Western discontent with Russian Vladimir Putin’s internal policies and efforts to “restore the Soviet empire.” “That policy has also dealt a blow to Armenia’s sovereignty, forcing the Armenian authorities to step back from a policy of European integration … and surrender to Russia,” writes the paper. It says President Serzh Sarkisian’s presence at the Sochi ceremony will highlight “the continuation of this process.”
“When Serzh Sarkisian unexpectedly declared on September 3 Armenia’s intention to join the Customs Union the Republican Party (HHK) and the government very quickly overcame their shock and started giving interviews about the rosy and happy future awaiting us in the Customs Union and saying that Serzh Sarkisian’s decision was the result of prior deliberations and detailed discussions,” writes “Zhoghovurd.” The paper says HHK and government representatives toned down their contrived optimism later in 2013, acknowledging price hikes that will follow Armenia’s accession to the union.
“Chorrord Inknishkhanutyun” reports on a brief scuffle that broke out between riot police and activists protesting against the government’s controversial pension reform in Yerevan on Thursday. The paper claims that the authorities are determined to beat up anybody refusing to pay more taxes mandated by the reform. Ironically, it says, the police officers who kicked some of the protesters will also have their wages curtailed.